It’s fall, and it’s time for pumpkin everything! Pumpkin lattes, granola, oatmeal, protein shakes….everything! I was a little disappointed with the pumpkin energy ball recipe I found online, so I decided to do a little experimenting of my own. I’m super pleased with the results. I’ve had several other people test them out, and I get a thumbs up from everyone besides my husband and eldest boy, who want things a little sweeter than this.
This recipe has all the lovely fall flavors you would expect, with minimal guilt. I won’t say no guilt, because there is a little maple syrup. But it’s a pretty small amount and the ingredients are definitely clean and natural. I basically modified my go to protein ball recipe that you can find here! Cinnamon Vanilla Protein Balls
These make a great post workout snack, and the kids love them as an after school treat. Protein balls are defiantly healthier than most sweets and treats and have saved me from totally cheating on my clean eating living on more than one occasion.
The best part is, they only take about 15 minutes to put together, and require no baking. That’s right. No baking. I usually quadruple my batch once I find a recipe I like, because they go fast.
First things first, you have to grind your oatmeal into a flour texture. A couple seconds in the Vitamix did the trick nicely. Mix together all of the dry ingredients: oats, almond meal (not flour), Pure Nourish protein powder (or other plain flavored protein powder), pumpkin pie spice, salt, and finely chopped pecans. (Which I also gave a quick run through the Vitamix). You can use store bought pumpkin pie spice, or just use this recipe. I always have a batch mixed up in the fall. It keeps just fine in a mason jar.
Then add vanilla, almond butter, pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling), and maple syrup. Use the real stuff, like from a maple tree. Not that crap in a log cabin bottle. If you’re not worried about the sugar, you can add a little extra maple syrup, or even a little honey. But I prefer that my treats are NOT super sweet.
To mix it all together it’s definitely much easier to use your hands. Once everything is mixed well, form into 1 inch balls. You kind of have to compress it together to make it stick, then form it. To complete the process, lay them out on a plate and freeze for about 15 minutes.
The next step is optional, and they are really good without doing this. But if you’re feeling fancy, grind some pecans to a consistency a little more fine than store bought chopped pecans. Mix in a little cinnamon and roll each ball through the mixture. They’re like healthy little Ferrero Rocher’s. Except not really at all. They just have nuts on the outside, so I pretend 😉
If you don’t have the time or patience to form the dough into little balls, you can just press the it into a small pan lined with parchment paper and make protein bars instead. I leave some extra paper on the sides to help press the dough down and even it out. These taste the same, and they’re way faster. Just make sure you really smash it down good so it will stick together. Freeze, cut, enjoy!
When I make a large batch I leave them in the freezer in a zip lock bag. I’m unsure how long they will last, because it has yet to happen. But I would say a few weeks at least. If you plan on demolishing these quickly, they can be left in the fridge instead.
- 3/4 cup oats, ground to flour texture
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup plain protein powder
- 1 TBSP pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup almond butter
- 1 1/2 TBSP maple syrup
- 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
- Grind oats into flour.
- Add almond flour, protein powder, pumpkin pie spice, pecans, and salt and mix.
- Then add in almond butter, vanilla, maple syrup, and pumpkin puree.
- Once well mixed, form into 1 inch balls.
- To help the balls stick together, compress the dough tother and then roll into shape.
- Can make protein bars instead by compressing dough into a pan lined with parchment paper. Cut into desired sized after freezing for 15 minutes.